“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” Actually, the Republican-dominated CBO just said that’s completely backwards.
You’d have to insure 28 million more Americans for everybody to have insurance. Instead the Republican bill will cut the number insured by 24 million. The end result will be not just more uninsured, but actually a higher percentage uninsured than when the ACA was passed in 2010.
Tax cuts for the rich
Here’s what’s going on. The Republican’s plan cuts taxes on the wealthy by $900 billion over 10 years, which would increase the deficit. That’s not allowed, so to make up for it, they’re cutting subsidies for low-income health care. That includes $880 billion per year cut from Medicaid, and a whole lot from individual health plans.
Republicans control the CBO and JCT
When the Congressional Budget Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation released their Cost Estimate on March 13, Republicans were quick to denounce much of their findings. But there is no reason to think that the report produced by this group would be biased against the AHCA. Although the CBO is nonpartisan, its chair Keith Hall, a conservative, was appointed by Trump’s HHS secretary Tom Price. Likewise the JCT, with 10 members from the House and Senate (six Republicans, four Democrats), is chaired by Republican Orrin Hatch.
CBO does the best job
Although the CBO is noted for producing the most unbiased and accurate estimates, the GOP complains that it was too optimistic by 8 million regarding Obamacare’s reduction in total number of uninsured Americans. In 2010, they predicted 30 million by 2016, but it turned out to total was only reduced by 22 million. But there’s a good reason for much of this discrepancy. In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that states could drop the Medicaid part of the ACA. Of course, the CBO had no idea of this back in 2010.
The point to remember is that Republican-dominated CBO is not biased against the AHCA, and could easily turn out to be too optimistic once again. But whether its estimate proves high or low, the AHCA would still leave us with 15 to 30 million more uninsured, which would be a tragic loss for country — Democrats and Republicans alike.